Workout Routine Myth Busting
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Nope, You Don’t Need to Go to the Gym


Guest post from Gillian Goerzen, BSc (kin), BCRPA PT, GF, YFL

When people come to me ready to make a change with their health and fitness, very often one of the first things they say to me is that they “need to go to the gym” or they “need to exercise regularly.”

My first question back to them is often this:


This is when they will get a dazed look of confusion that seems to say “aren’t you a fitness professional? Isn’t that what you want me to say?”

To which I most often respond with this:

I know that might surprise you, but formal exercise isn’t the “answer” for a lot of people. Tell me more about what it means to be healthy and fit – to YOU!

This leads us to some really cool conversation about how they define health and fitness as an individual. It usually involves me shattering a lot of the myths that (sadly) the fitness industry has perpetuated to serve it’s business – primarily this:


MYTH: In order to be healthy and fit you need to participate in formal exercise / go to the gym / fitness class / lift weights.


This is unequivocally NOT true.

Pardon me?

Yup. You read that correctly.

You don’t need to go to the gym, attend a class, lift weights or even do traditional formal exercise to be healthy. 

You also don’t necessarily need to do those things to be fit.

Because FIT (just like health) is as unique as you are. Let’s dive deeper into this and answer this very important question…


What is “fitness” then?


Here’s how I define it: Fitness is the capacity for your body to perform the activities you desire with ease and enjoyment.

Once we know your unique desires, then we can start to look at the tactics and strategies you need to get there. Because how you define fitness will dramatically alter the tactics and strategies you use to achieve said fitness.

Let me clarify with a few examples:

  • If you said you want to be able to run 5k with ease and enjoyment – awesome. I’m not going to send you to 3 Zumba classes per week. I’m going to get you to progress through a walk to run program designed to help you run 5k.
  • If you said you want to be able to get up and down off the ground to play with your grandkids with ease and enjoyment – also awesome. I’m not going to have you hit the stairs or go to aquasize (though those are also awesome ways to exercise). I’m going to give you specific exercises to help you increase the strength and flexibility you need to get up and down off the ground.
  • If you said you want to be able to bike through the countryside in Italy with ease and enjoyment – ohhhh awesome. I’m not going to have you prepare by taking a Ashtanga Yoga class and hiking 2x per week. I’m going to suggest you get on the bike – through spinning classes and by joining a social ride on the weekends.


BOTTOM LINE: Fitness is specific. And so the tactics and strategies we use to achieve it also need to be specific (and actually work for your #reallife)


Why am I ranting on about this?


Because all too often we (both the industry and people just like you) jump to the TACTICS of fitness without really addressing the specific objective first. And this leads to lack-luster interest (aka joy) and a failure to develop the fitness we actually need and want!

So, what can you do?

If you’re thinking about moving more….

Ask yourself: what is my intention?


If your intention is health: 

  1. Find ways to move your body for 150-minutes per week.
  2. Explore activities that you enjoy that work with your current life structure (aka #reallife)
  3. Remember that every move counts! Every single 10-minute burst of activity that increases your heart rate and breathing rate all adds up to good health!


If your intention is fitness, ask this follow up question: What do you want to be fit for? 

  1. Choose activities that support that fitness goal.
  2. Make those activities your top priority.
  3. Remember that additional activities can also be included, but should be seen as “support” for the primary goal.
    • For example – if you are a runner, you might also include strength training or yoga, but the majority of your exercise would be focused on running, with the strength and yoga being seen as secondary and in support. Ie. your strength workouts shouldn’t take up more time/ make you so sore you can’t do your runs!

If this is making your head spin – don’t fret! I know it’s a lot of info. Just let it percolate. And remember in the end – when it comes to health, all movement is good movement!


Listen to your body, follow your instincts and have FUN!

And…if you have questions, just ask!

Gillian is a Body Positive Health and Fitness Coach with a passion for helping women create a healthy lifestyle they love free from guilt and shame. Grounded in the HAES® (Health at Every Size) philosophy Gillian helps clients rediscover their JOY for movement and genuine enthusiasm for building health habits that stick – for good! You can learn more about Gillian and her online Body Positive Fitness Studio and Community at www.superyoustudio.com

Looking for more healthy living tips?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for nutrition and wellness articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits you can live with for life. Our nutrition newsletter is written by health and wellness experts and the Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice.

Click here to sign-up for our free weekly newsletter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This